Daffodils and Willow Pattern, Oil on Panel, 9.5 x 7 inches
I’m beggining to realise that I’ve fallen in love with painting daffodils.
It’s partly because they’re such a challenge to paint. Keeping the chroma high and trying to show all the nuances of hue, all the slightly differing yellows, painting the form of each individual flower – all of these things would be quite difficult for me on their own.
Doing them all at once is a real challenge. I feel it’s stretching me.
It’s also because their colours are so, so beautiful.
Spending a large part of each day in the company of these singing yellows is an experience in itself. There’s something unashamedly optimistic about the way they spread themselves to the light, apparently unconcerned by their own fragility and ephemerality.
And the more daffodil paintings I do, the more I’m remembering the value of working in a series.
It’s something I used to do a lot years ago, but had largely forgotten about.
By coming back again and again to my daffodils, I’m finding new aspects of the colour each time.
I’m getting to try different ways to cope with the challenges of painting high chroma yellows, and exploring a delicate balance between creating believable flowers and simplifying the shapes – perhaps beyond what I would usually do.
Some of this is very conscious and carefully and methodically approached, the colour particularly. Some, I think, happens almost without me being fully aware of it.
I’ve long thought that simplifying forms and reducing detail might create a stronger feeling of the reality of the subject in the painting, a kind of physical there-ness that detail doesn’t give.
Perhaps it’s because I’m trying to pull back my focus and constantly address the picture as a whole rather than a single element at a time. Compressing the values in the lights is requiring me to do that, I have to in order to keep the value balacnce consistent.
Whatever it is, I’m finding myself in new (for me) and exciting territory at the easel, and I can’t wait to get into the studio and begin work at the moment – to the detriment of many other parts of my life!
I read a quote recently which I can’t rememeber the source for but keep returning to, it went something like “Your last painting will show you what your next painting needs to be”.
That’s certainly happening with me and daffodils at the moment. As each one is completed, I’m immediately itching to start the next one, to see what will happen when I approach them from a slightly different angle, try to do one aspect better.
So I suppose this means that there will be more daffodil paintings to come.
The garden is now full of them. Every time I walk out of the front door I’m assailed by them, drawing my attention and daring me to try again.
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